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Health Care Manag Sci. 2002 Feb;5(1):33-9.

An econometric analysis of screening and treatment of patients with suspected Chlamydia.

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Management Department, University of St Andrews, Fife, Scotland, UK.


Chlamydia trachomatis is probably the most common sexually transmitted disease in the Western industrialised countries with devastating consequences. However, it is an infection that can be so easily treated. There are over 50 million new cases occurring each year. In the United States chlamydia is seen as the most common and costly of the bacterial sexually transmitted diseases (STD), with approximately 4 million new cases occurring each year at an estimated total cost of $2.4 billion. The characteristic of this infection is its difficulty of detection that promotes its spread and making its prediction rather complex. Chlamydial infections are commonly asymptomatic or cause mild or non-specific symptoms and signs, which are not easily detected. Approximately 70% of women with endocervical infections and up to 50% of men with urethral infections are asymptomatic and thus not likely to seek medical care. Chlamydia has become known as the "silent epidemic". It is the more frequently identifiable single cause of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), occurring in an estimated 15-40% of women. The primary objective of the study was to identify factors and quantify their contribution to the risk of being infected with Chlamydia and to construct an easy to use friendly method for early detection. The importance of developing some means of early detection is vital and previous studies suggest that selective screening might be one solution. A logit model was fitted to three broad variables: behavioural, patients' characteristics, and signs/symptoms noted by patient. The age of the women, the number of sexual partners over the past year, previous history of sexually transmitted disease, the use of barrier contraception and patients' and their partners' signs and symptoms were found to be among the most important variables. Such a model should allow patients who are in a high-risk category, allowing appropriate treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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